Silent Killer Living in Your Home - myfoxcarolinas.com

Silent Killer Living in Your Home

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Charlotte, N.C. (WJZY) -- The deadliest killer many times is the one you never see coming. Invisible odorless and tasteless gases in the air.

We hear a lot about carbon monoxide and practically every home has a CO detector, but there's another gas that gets a lot less attention.

Caroline Fountain talks to experts about radon, why it's dangerous, and where some hotspots are in the Charlotte area.

"Radon is everywhere. It's hard to avoid. It's everywhere in the environment, especially in the soil. It's a gas, so most of us inhale and exhale it without a problem," said Dr. Jaspal Singh with Carolinas HeathCare System.


However, high levels of it can be dangerous.

"It's a radioactive substance and can affect genes and change the gene structure. Those gene changes can become cancerous.

The National Academy of Sciences estimates, beside cigarette smoke which is the number one cause of lung cancer, the number two cause could be radon. Up to 15-20,000 cases in the United States per year," said Dr. Singh.

Joanne Delangie recently moved to the Carolinas from New Hampshire. Radon gets a lot more attention in the New England area.

"There's a lot of granite in the ground in the Northeast, so radon levels are very high. Many of the homes have radon levels in the thousands. The EPA recommends 4.0," said Joanne Delangie.

She was surprised to hear radon can be a problem in the Charlotte region as a lot of the ground is clay.

"Tega Cay is prone to radon. We've actually found it in condos in Charlotte on the 6th floor, so it's not necessarily from the ground, but in the building material originating from the ground," said Brian Wetzel, home inspector with HouseMaster.

Keep this in mind, just because you have high radon levels in your home, doesn't mean you will definitely get lung cancer.

"No one knows for sure. It's not a 1 to 1 correlation that if you drop your radon exposure, you'll protect yourself from lung cancer. We're trying to decrease the odds of developing things like lung cancer," said Dr. Singh.

For more information, visit these websites:

http://www.housemaster.com/resources/hm_resources/series/radon

http://www.epa.gov/radiation/radionuclides/radon.html

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/radon

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